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Paul Uttinger


Wright has been on my mind lately, as I had the fortunate opportunity last week of spending a night in the quirky Price Tower after Dan Rockhill's superb Sustain:ABILITY lecture in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. I made the pilgrimage to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob a few years ago with some friends. We went on a cold day in late autumn. It was a wonderful time of the year to see both houses, with snow and ice on the ground.

One of Wright's Erdman Prefab houses was disassembled a few years ago, moved from Illinois to Pennsylvania, and reassembled on a site about 17 miles from Fallingwater. It's possible to stay a couple of nights in that house (at a considerable upcharge from Quality Inn, I imagine). See Polymath Park Resort: http://polymathpark.com/

I'm an architect in Oklahoma, but I visit Portland from time to time. Thanks for your very infomative and interesting blog -- I enjoy reading it.



Now I'm Jonesin' to go back.

I've visited the site three times, each under very different circumstances. And each time I was moved by so many things in and around this house. As a mere aesthetic this house is stunning, no doubt. But it has much to offer, too, about domesticity, the un-homely, and our place in the world. It is, in that sense, awesome.

My favorite visit was with a group of my students in 2000. Going in, they were a gaggle of self-assured, flip, youth. They were looking for niftiness and gloss and disinterested in this decaying work by a passe 'master'. On our way out, though, they were hush and eventually they began to ask questions.

patient renter

Brian - I think you're holding out on us. Post some more pictures, please!!

Brian Libby

patient renter, thanks for your interest. The photos in the post aren't mine, but I did take about a hundred of them. However I'm out of town and can't post the shots until I've properly fussed with them on Photoshop when I get home. There will probably be a Fallingwater photo album posted next week.


I have to go there ... my father was an architect trained in England who revered Frank Lloyd Wright and often used his ideas in his work. Seeing this and other work by FLW reminds me of the homes my father did and brings him back to me. Brian, thank you, and I look forward to your photo album.

Double J

I know what you mean, Wright was just scary good when he was on...

During middle and Highschool I grew up in a house designed by one of Wright's apprentices (it was a lot like a Wright church)... my parents had even considered buying a Wright house at one point. I used to hang out at Wingspread and the Johnson wax building for fun and I'm just now starting to understand what a gift it was to be around so much Wright in Wisconsin and Illinois. In terms of allegiances my family has ties to Mies' legacy through IIT but it's Wright that seems to be in a league of his own... something about his (paradoxical) focus on humanist design stands in stark contrast to most of the top notch 20th century architechts (despite the fact that he was so controlling). Maybe only Kahn or Aalto approach him... and current stars like Gehry, Hadid, Nouvel, Mayne... don't seem to have the same touch or clients.

Check out James Rose too.

John T

A little closer to home, Wright's Barnsdall house (aka Hollyhock house) in Los Angeles is open to tours, and I got a chance to see it last year. Walking through the spaces and seeing the amazing details up close is an entirely different experience than looking at photographs of the building.


I've been a Wright fan for a long time, and while at school in Pittsburgh I made the trek out to Falling Water. My experience was very similar to Brian's.

But if you're a fan of Craftsman and Victorian architecture, go visit Pittsburgh. The steel mills are mostly gone, along with the dirt. But the huge homes built with all that steel money remain. Many have been converted to 4 or 6 huge apartments, but they still remain in the older neighborhoods. Da 'Burgh is similar to PDX in that they are both river towns, with similar geography. It's worth a visit if you're in the area.


surely you hit the BCJ project @ fallingwater, as well as kentuck knob, which really is a much more interesting project than fallingwater...

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